Hybrid cloud computing technology

How a hybrid cloud can benefit your enterprise


Explore the details and benefits of a hybrid cloud.

Read time: 6 minutes

What is a hybrid cloud & how can it benefit your business?

A hybrid cloud is a cloud computing solution that combines private and public cloud services to meet all of an enterprise’s computing needs.

People like private clouds because they retain complete control over their IT infrastructure, data, and security posture. But maintaining a local private cloud can be a major undertaking and requires a continuous investment in hardware, licensing, resources, and personnel.

People like public clouds because they can lease needed services, paying only for resources consumed, without investing in infrastructure while a managed services provider (MSP) handles all the support details.

A hybrid cloud combines the best of both worlds. An organization benefits by keeping control over mission-critical data and applications as with an on-premises solution (a.k.a., the private cloud), while leveraging off-premises resources (a.k.a., public clouds) for cost-effective long term data storage and shared access to powerful computing assets and services the organization could not implement as cost-effectively on its own.

Hybrid clouds offer flexibility to shift workloads between clouds and spin up new virtual assets as needs change over time. With the proper software tools in place to connect them all for efficient communications between each service, IT administrators can manage their entire cloud environment from a single pane of glass.

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Hybrid cloud benefits

The primary driver behind the shift to a hybrid cloud strategy is flexibility. Flexibility to scale, to move workloads, to launch new applications, and to quickly recover from interruptions to service. A properly implemented hybrid cloud strategy brings the following benefits to the organization:

Customized environments

Businesses can select the environment that best suits the application to maximize accessibility and minimize costs. Keep mission-critical apps and data in the private cloud for enhanced control and security and move secondary apps and data that can tolerate minor interruptions to less expensive public clouds.

Business continuity

Having some computing assets managed at off-premises data centers provides redundancies that protect data integrity and availability in the event of a natural disaster, cyberattack, or interruption to service. A hybrid cloud reduces risk and speeds recovery time should either the private or public cloud experience an outage for any reason and eliminates the need for IT staff to perform regular backups and store copies of the entire environment.

Support for hybrid and remote workforces

Properly authorized employees have global access to information and can work from anywhere there is an internet connection. Applications can be deployed, and updates can be rolled out to team members and devices wherever they are.

Cost reduction

Transferring some services and applications to the public cloud reduces internal costs and offers accounting advantages by reclassifying capital expenses (CapEx) as operational expenses (OpEx). Staffing expenses can be trimmed, as well as the calls for upgrading on-premises hardware and servers.   

Customers are charged only for the resources consumed, driving down expenses. This can be especially advantageous to businesses with cyclical needs. For example, a financial services company may need scale-up computing power during tax season. Rather than pay for resources that will sit idle for most of the year, the organization can save on costs by increasing public cloud resource consumption only when necessary.  

Further, a hybrid model requires much less on-premises space and infrastructure support compared to a strictly private cloud. That translates into thousands of square feet of data center space and computing assets that need not be built, powered, and cooled by the enterprise.

Reduced maintenance and upgrades

Another labor and cost-saving related advantage of a hybrid cloud is that the responsibility for maintenance and application upgrades is on the managed service provider (MSP), being part of Service Level Agreement (SLA) package. The MSP is responsible for ensuring all applications and cyberthreat detection and prevention measures are up to date and running smoothly, alleviating the burden on in-house IT administrators. 

Public cloud partners have the added advantages of:

Scalability and agility

Established public cloud partners have massive amounts of data storage capacity, applications, and compute assets standing ready to be deployed. Bandwidth can be scaled up or down on demand to meet spikes in activity. Quickly spin up additional resources to test new applications or give access to new employees.


Security has long been a concern of the public cloud experience. Fortunately, most public clouds have implemented cybersecurity protocols to meet today’s threats. Customers and employees accessing information through the public cloud are protected by the hosting service's multiple layers of threat detection monitoring services.

Today, the hybrid cloud model has become popular because it has adopted the robust security tools and industry best practices of the traditional in-house IT environment across both public and private cloud components.

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Hybrid cloud use cases

Hybrid cloud is a game-changer and can help smaller enterprises and startups level the playing field against established competitors by gaining access to technologies and services they could never afford to build in time to remain competitive. Let’s take a look at some examples of how a hybrid cloud strategy is utilized:

  • Business continuity and disaster recovery. One of the most common and obvious reasons for a hybrid could strategy, having a duplicate set of data and applications safely stored and regularly updated off-premises allows for speedy recovery and return to normal operations. 

  • Application development and testing. New apps need to be thoroughly debugged and tested before deployment. Most enterprises do not have the internal resources to simulate all the issues an app may face upon release. A hybrid cloud allows DevOps personnel to access tools needed to test an app without making a substantial up-front investment, instead paying only for the resources consumed.  

  • Regulatory compliance. Many industries are regulated to ensure companies comply with data privacy. A hybrid cloud allows businesses to comply with various international regulations by dividing data among several clouds with the proper level of protections demanded by local authorities.  

  • Big data. Companies processing vast amounts of information can leverage public cloud compute assets to crunch data and make decisions in real-time that might take hours or days to process internally.  

  • Cloud bursting. An application might run efficiently today but require additional computational power tomorrow. Hybrid clouds adapt to changing workload needs as needed, dedicating more resources to keep apps running at peak performance when demand spikes. Called "cloud bursting," overflowing workloads spill out of one cloud into another, providing incremental capacity to meet additional demand without purchasing additional hardware.

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Is hybrid cloud right for your organization?

It may be.

For example, if your organization has security, privacy, or regulatory policies that must be controlled internally and therefore does not allow for a full cloud deployment, a hybrid cloud may be ideal.

Or, perhaps management wants to reduce CapEx by replacing owned business tools with services and apps available as OpEx, take advantage of built-in disaster recovery capabilities, access powerful AI/ML data crunching tools, and lower secondary data storage costs. Here again, a hybrid cloud is a good option.

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For most businesses, a hybrid cloud model is an effective way to balance IT priorities with business needs and expenses. It provides unmatched flexibility while reducing costs by paying only services and resources consumed.

At companies with a private cloud infrastructure already in place, connecting to a public cloud is an easy way to instantly reach a global audience with keeping sensitive data on a private cloud.

For small companies and startups without a mature private cloud infrastructure, the hybrid cloud model can be the critical link to accessing computing assets and services that are beyond the capability to implement on their own.

But one thing is clear: just as every company is unique, so are their cloud requirements. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. The proper implementation of a hybrid cloud strategy should be undertaken along with guidance from a partner who can help identify workload distribution priorities, build a roadmap for your digital transition, and streamline cloud services.

If you are thinking about changing your organization’s cloud strategy or are trying to balance workload distributions across private and public cloud deployments, contact the hybrid cloud experts at Ricoh.

As a managed cloud service provider, we can help you make the right choices between public, private, and hybrid cloud hosting to develop and deploy scalable solutions to meet your business goals.

Looking for cloud solutions for your business? Explore our IT services to learn more.

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